A naturally occurring predatory bacterium can work with the immune system to clear multi-drug resistant Shigella infections in zebrafish.
It is the first time the predatory bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus has been successfully used as an injected anti-bacterial therapy and represents an important step in the fight against drug-resistant infections, or ‘superbugs’.
Shigella infection is responsible for over 160 million illnesses and over 1 million deaths every year – and is a common cause of ‘travellers’ diarrhoea.’ Cases of drug-resistant Shigella are also on the rise as, although the diarrhoea usually clears up without treatment, antibiotics are often used even in mild cases to stop the diarrhoea faster. Resistance to antibiotics has prompted a team of researchers from Imperial College London and Nottingham University to look to the natural environment for creative solutions to this problem.
‘PREDATORY ACTION’ – ABOUT THE STUDY
To investigate Bdellovibrio’s ability to control drug resistant Gram-negative infections, researchers injected zebrafish larvae with a lethal dose of Shigella flexneri strain M90T which is resistant to both streptomycin and carbenicillin antibiotics. Bdellovibrio was then injected into the larvae’s infection site, and a decrease in the number of Shigella was seen. In the absence of Bdellovibrio, zebrafish were unable to control the replication of Shigella and levels of the bacteria rose.
Co-lead author Dr Serge Mostowy from the Department of Medicine at from Imperial College London said: “This study really shows what a unique and interesting bacterium Bdellovibrio is as it presents this amazing natural synergy with the immune system and persists just long enough to kill prey bacteria before being naturally cleared. It’s an important milestone in research into the use of a living antibiotic that could be used in animals and humans.”
Bdellovibrio can invade and kill a range of Gram-negative bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, in the natural environment. Previous research has shown that it can reduce pathogen numbers in the stomach of chickens when taken as an oral therapy, but there is growing need to develop therapies to target infections in wounds and organs. Successful use of Bdellovibrio highlights its potential uses in tackling a range of drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections that can develop in hospital patients.
The urgent requirement for new antimicrobials calls for increasingly creative solutions
– Dr Alex Willis
Co-lead author from Imperial’s Department of Medicine
Dr Mostowy and co-lead author Dr Alex Willis from the Department of Medicine at Imperial said: “The urgent requirement for new antimicrobials calls for increasingly creative solutions. The zebrafish has been a fantastic model for us to generate rapid understanding of how a living antibiotic can work in an animal. Our findings here provide the basis for testing Bdellovibrio in higher vertebrates and ultimately, humans.
“The translucent zebrafish facilitates powerful microscopy that enables striking understanding more difficult to achieve using other animal models. Being able to visualise the infection as well as the predatory bacteria and host immune cells has been invaluable in helping us understand how Bdellovibrio can function in an animal.”
Professor Liz Sockett, co-lead author from The University of Nottingham said: “This has been a truly ground-breaking collaboration that shows therapeutic Bdellovibrio in action inside the translucent living zebrafish. The predatory action of the Bdellovibrio breaks the Shigella-pathogen cells and this stimulates the white blood cells; redoubling their ‘efforts’ against the pathogen and leading to increased survival of the zebrafish ‘patients’.”
Remarkably, Bdellovibrio is also able to reduce pathogen load in immunocompromised zebrafish larvae that have been depleted of white blood cells. However, survival is significantly greater in immune-competent zebrafish, showing that Bdellovibrio’s maximum therapeutic benefit comes from its ability to work cooperatively with the host’s own immune system.
Dr Michael Chew, Science Portfolio Advisor at Wellcome said: “It may be unusual to use a bacterium to get rid of another, but in the light of the looming threat from drug resistant infections the potential of beneficial bacteria-animal interactions should not be overlooked. We are increasingly relying on last line antibiotics, and this innovative study demonstrates how predatory bacteria could be an important additional tool to drugs in the fight against resistance.”
The Latest on: Living antibiotic
via Google News
The Latest on: Living antibiotic
- Chile's salmon farmers defend highest antimicrobial use since 2017on May 18, 2022 at 12:09 pm
Chile’s salmon farmers increased their use of antimicrobials last year to levels not seen since 2017, according to t he latest report on the matter from the Chile’s National F ...
- Voices Urging Action on Antimicrobial Resistance Take to Capitol Hillon May 18, 2022 at 8:43 am
Today the Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease (PFID), along with the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), Boomer Esiason Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unite to highlight ...
- 2022 Women in Business: Shelley Kendrick grows Ecumen despite pandemic challengeson May 18, 2022 at 6:19 am
Just before the pandemic hit, Shelley Kendrick took the reins as president and CEO of Ecumen. Since then, she has navigated a myriad of challenges, while ensuring the 27,000 people the senior living ...
- The fight against ‘superbugs’on May 17, 2022 at 1:42 pm
As parents, we inherently want to protect our children. We tell them stories with happy endings and reassure them that there aren’t monsters hiding under the bed.
- Living with Lead Creates Antibiotic-Resistant ‘Superbugs’on May 16, 2022 at 3:46 am
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a growing cause of death worldwide. They killed roughly 1.27 million people in 2019, according to the most recent worldwide analysis. One obvious culprit has been our ...
- A Virus Was Used to Cure an Antibiotic-Resistant Lung Infectionon May 15, 2022 at 8:27 am
In a clinical first, reported in Cell, researchers used viruses that infect bacteria, called bacteriophages or phages for short, to successfully eliminate | Microbiology ...
- First successful treatment of antibiotic-resistant mycobacterial lung infection with bacteriophageson May 13, 2022 at 10:59 am
For the first time, researchers have successfully used bacteriophages—viruses that kill bacteria—to treat an antibiotic-resistant mycobacterial lung infection, clearing the way for a young National ...
- Omaha World-Herald: Inspired Livingon May 9, 2022 at 10:45 pm
Inspired Living Omaha spotlights home ... Now, a new study hints at a culprit: the antibiotics used to treat them. UTIs can affect anyone, but are particularly prevalent among women.
- Are Antibiotics the Cause, Not Solution, of Recurrent UTIs?on May 9, 2022 at 8:59 am
Now, a new study hints at a culprit: the antibiotics used to treat them. UTIs can affect anyone, but are particularly prevalent among women. Studies suggest that up to 80% of women develop a UTI ...
via Bing News